Journo Jobs

The Marshall Project seeks an engagement reporter

June 28, 2023

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

A core pillar of our strategy at The Marshall Project rests on engagement: how to conceive and distribute our journalism so that it better reflects and reaches people, including the incarcerated and their families, who have largely been ignored or marginalized by many news platforms.

This is a form of journalism that involves reimagining our storytelling forms, distribution platforms, and information needs of readers, including those in justice-affected communities who seldom see news that could affect their own lives or reflects their lived experiences. Engagement journalism will play a central role as we broaden our work to serve local areas with few criminal justice reporting resources and collaborate with local partners.

We are seeking a reporter experienced in engagement/community journalism and its evolving practices. These include but are not limited to: surveys, callouts, and crowdsourcing; community outreach that includes asking a wide range of people what questions they have about the criminal justice/immigration systems and eliciting their own experiences with them; alternative methods of distributing our journalism; accessibility tools for those with limited sight, hearing, literacy challenges or learning disabilities. Facility with data analysis, and FOIA requests, would be helpful, though not required.

This position reports to the engagement editor in the newsroom.

Responsibilities would include:

  • Use engagement reporting skills, such callouts or town halls, to conceive and produce original journalism for The Marshall Project and our publishing partners. This includes monitoring several mail streams from incarcerated people and their families and friends to identify common themes and potential story ideas.
  • Build trust and deep sourcing within national organizations serving the formerly incarcerated and their families.
  • Support our Life Inside essay series by monitoring, scanning, and logging the physical and digital mail we receive from incarcerated writers. As part of this work you’d be the first line of communication with a stable of incarcerated writers who double as sources for stories about issues behind bars.
  • Produce a “Reader to Reader” column for News Inside, the Marshall Project’s quarterly magazine for the incarcerated. This would include creating callout prompts, synthesizing the responses, and writing up the content for the magazine and our website three times a year.
  • Partner with our investigative reporters on engagement projects that deepen the scope and reach of our award-winning accountability work, and help to connect these projects with the communities that we are covering. This would include the possibility of turning Marshall Project stories into forms that could better reach the incarcerated or their families, such as video or other print products (such as fliers or one-sheets) as well as new types of distribution like Ameelio.
  • Participate in a Marshall Project engagement working group drawing from many sectors of the newsroom. The group discusses engagement projects, storytelling forms and distribution channels to reach wider audiences. Together the team builds and maintains our best practices and guidelines to inform our work.

Preferred Skills and Experiences

  • Use your listening and analytical skills to identify, conceive and execute stories, explainers, and social storytelling that reflect the interests and information needs of the incarcerated and their families. The right candidate will be comfortable juggling a mix of monthly stories as well as more complex projects.
  • Ability to ferret out information – and explain complex processes – in places of restricted access and about complex criminal justice systems such as prisons, jails, court and policing officials, and communities who are understandably wary of the news media.
  • Ability to juggle and meet deadlines on both long and shorter-term projects.
  • Cultivate and expand a broad network of sources to help generate story ideas. Even if you do not currently have sources inside prisons, you know how to develop them.
  • Collaboration is in our DNA. You’ll work closely with colleagues from The Marshall Project and partner organizations— online, print, audio, broadcast.
  • Familiarity with engagement reporting practices, which can include writing up callouts, and mining social media networks to uncover story ideas and sources.
  • Ability to work effectively and efficiently with reporters, editors, data team, developers, designers, photo editors, video and audience teams.
  • Eagerness to experiment with various storytelling forms across mediums including visual journalism, audio and video.
  • Contribute to audience development and promotion through headline writing, social media post drafting, media requests, appearances, and live events.
  • Comfort maintaining relationships with a variety of justice-affected community members while still adhering to journalistic norms.

Engagement journalism is both new and evolving, which means no one has the exact perfect set of skills and experiences we are seeking. Please tell us about your other assets not mentioned here that may be valuable to this role. We encourage candidates to apply, even if they do not meet every skill listed. Reaching talent across a range of backgrounds and experiences is deeply important to us.

Our headquarters is in New York City, but we will consider remote candidates who live in the United States.

Annual Salary Range: $80,000 – $95,000

The deadline to submit an application is 11:59pm EST on Friday, July 28.

For further details click here.

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